Properly Tap Mentors for Career Counsel

Individuals seeking jobs need to form their own network of mentors and coaches.  Knowing the difference between the two support roles is important for the mentor, coach and protégé. 

Most of my mentors and those I mentor have developed over long periods of time.  Some of my mentors are nearby and others live thousands of miles away.  I’ve looped back to several of them during each of my major career decisions.  Importantly, they and I stay in touch in between those conversations.  A coach normally is a shorter term arrangement.  I’ve often played coach by providing one-time or occasional advice, such as reviewing a resume.  Both roles consume considerable time for those willing to be mentors or coaches, so it is important for those seeking either advice to carefully approach potential mentors or coaches.  

Initially, recruit individuals who know you well and genuinely care about your success–perhaps family members or family friends.  Don’t make cold call requests.  Once you’re employed, its easier to identify and recruit mentors from within your organization or other firms with whom you work. 

Sunday’s New York Times provides excellent advice on how to identify and best use mentors and coaches.  The article discusses roles and expectations of the mentor and protégé.  The article also discusses reverse mentorship where talented younger employees work with more senior employees.  I have benefited considerably over the years from such mentoring and coaching. 

3 comments on this post.
  1. Jamie Kim:

    Hi Ron,

    As always, thank you for the helpful article and blog post. I’m beginning a summer internship tomorrow and am hoping to develop mutually beneficial relationships with future mentors and coaches.

    Jamie

  2. Corina:

    Dear Ron,

    Thank you for the helpful article and blog post.

    I am very interested in the mentoring part.

    I would like to know how should I approach a director of a company that I would like to work for. I would like to enter in the company and also have as menthor his general manager because I like the ways he makes business, the way he act or he thinks business.

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,
    Corina

  3. Culpwrit:

    Corina,

    I don’t recommend approaching people to be mentors who you don’t know. Best mentors are people who know you well and really want to help you succeed. If you land a job at the company, you can then explore the possibility of approaching the director of the company.

    Ron

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